Morphogens play a critical role in most aspects of development, including expansion and patterning of the central nervous system. Activating germline mutations in components of the Hedgehog and Wnt pathways have provided evidence for the important roles morphogens play in the genesis of brain tumors such as cerebellar medulloblastoma. In addition, aberrant expression of transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily members has been demonstrated to contribute to progression of malignant gliomas. This review summarizes our current knowledge about the roles of morphogens in central nervous system tumorigenesis.
(c) 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.